Altering Surface & Form with Gay Smith

In this installment of the Ceramic Arts Daily Video Series, Gertrude Graham (nicknamed Gay) Smith shares the ways she works with freshly thrown pots to alter surface and form. Enamored with the tactile and responsive nature of clay, Gay chooses to make alterations on her pots immediately after they are thrown to create energetic and spontaneous marks. In this program, she shows a number of different ways to alter fresh surfaces, as well as how to enhance those marks in the trimming and finishing of several pieces. In addition, she covers her considerations of form and how to make the pieces more utilitarian. If you find yourself in love with the nature of freshly thrown clay and want to learn to successfully capture it in your work, this video is for you!

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Gertrude Graham (Gay) Smith

About the Artist

Gertrude Graham (Gay) Smith is a studio potter living and working near Penland, North Carolina. Gay studied ceramics at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth and the University of Oregon and has been an artist-in-residence at the Archie Bray Foundation for the Ceramic Arts and Penland School of Crafts. Her teaching credits include workshops at Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, Penland, the Harvard Ceramics Studio, and the Findhorn Foundation in Northern Scotland. Her work is represented internationally, and is in many collections including the Mint Museum, Charlotte, North Carolina and Yingge Ceramics Museum in Taiwan. Gay’s work has been featured in Ceramics Monthly magazine and in numerous publications including Making Marks and Functional Pottery by Robin Hopper. To learn more about Gay Smith or see more images of her work, please visit,

  • Wendy C.

    I was under the impression we would be shown the process of how the form in the picture was made. It looks like relief carving but it could be stamps. Too bad once I clicked on the picture above “Altering surface and forms by Gay Smith” the picture disappeared and the technique was never discussed. 🙁

    • Hi Wendy, that picture was taken from the Chapter 4 – Stamping section of the video. – CAN Staff

  • Verna C.

    Just a big thank you. I totally appreciate your variations on techniques. Also the “discussions” on form. A new fan in Montana.

  • Wendy P.

    A very generous video. I didn’t dare leave for even a few seconds or I would miss a critical tip. Enjoyed every minute.

  • Linda O.

    Gay Smith mentioned a whole video could be done on handles. Would very much like to see that. I was taught only one way to make handles and see such a variety out there. Would like to see how they are made

  • Lynne M.

    This has been my favorite video series so far! Gay Smith really inspires my work. Beautiful work with great skill. Her teaching methods are clear, precise in her language and demonstration so practical.

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